Sudan stunned with unfriendly reception
The Sudanese delegation were left stranded at the Kotoka International Airport for well-over an hour with no official of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) present to welcome them.
Per the regulations, at least an official of the GFA was expected to be at the airport to facilitate the formalities for the arriving party, but it turned out to be the opposite, with no GFA official in sight for at least 90 minutes.
But for the presence of staff of the Sudan Embassy in Accra led by their Ambassador, Mohamed Issa Ismail at the airport, it would have been a different story.
The Sudan delegation touched down from their Egypt Air flight at exactly 12:45, and to their surprise they had to go through the rigorous tasks of sorting out their visas on arrival all by themselves with assistance of their consulate.
More trouble awaited the delegation after making their towards the arrival hall as they remained in the dark over the next line of action.
“We communicated our arrangements to the GFA and we were expecting some from their side to be here. They told us there will be an official and look at what we found ourselves in. We don’t even know how we will be going to Kumasi,” a visibly disappointed Sudanese official fumed.
The Sudanese were offered some support by a sports enthusiast, Osmo Kwame Addo, Chief Executive of Katamadara Concepts, an event organizing firm who was at the airport by virtue of his relationship with the local embassy.
After more than an hour and with no GFA official turning up, the Ambassador resolved that the delegation had lunch at the Holiday Inn Hotel, with frustration drawn on the faces of the players who had travelled almost eight hours from Khartoum through Cairo and finally Accra.
Another problem was to yet arise with transportation as the Holiday Inn branded minibus could only accommodate seven members at a time, meaning the team was compelled to go in turns. The Sudanese Ambassador Ismail availed three vehicles of the consulate to transport other members of the delegation including head coach Mohamed ‘Mazda’ Abdallah to the Holiday Inn.
In the heat of that, one Sena of the Protocol section of the GFA turned up sweating profusely in his bid to weather the heavy storm. He tried to apologize to the delegation for the mishap whilst informing them arrangement has been made for them to have lunch at the Landing Restaurant, located at the precincts of the airport before connecting a flight to Kumasi at 16h00.
“All you can say is sorry. Sorry…. Sorry is not the solution. If you didn’t want to welcome us, you should have informed us and we will know how to go about it. This is too bad. Ghana has been to Sudan many times and we have accorded excellent reception,” an official of the Sudan Embassy poured out.
Prior to that, the players and technical team had arrived at Holiday Inn awaiting their lunch, only to be told that the preferred venue was the Landing Restaurant.
Just as they went, they were transported back to the Landing Restaurant in batches before lunch was organized. Few minutes later, Isaac Addo, a Deputy General Secretary of the GFA arrived at the scene to give a helping hand to the situation.
Sudan coach Abdallah expressed disappointment with the cold reception which has said has destabilized his players.
“We are disappointed because Sudan and Ghana have close ties. My players are in a state of confusion. We hope this situation won’t repeat itself next time,” Mazda told GNA Sports.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese delegation were expected to be flown to Kumasi at 16h00 GMT for Sunday’s Group D clash at the Baba Yara Stadium.